Archive for the 'Political' Category


Social Media and September 11th: Small Memorials, Big Impact

Social media has allowed us to remember September 11th through not just major memorials, but small ones, that have just as much impact. Platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Instagram provide an outlet for memorials for those tragic events that touched all of our lives and indelibly changed our nation.nypd

Last year, New York Police Department was able to honor the different officers whose lives were lost during the attacks on the World Trade Center.  The Twitter account posted the names of the officers, as well as their end of tour date; 9-11-01.  These updates served as a reminder of the many public service workers who gave their lives to help citizens of New York that fateful day.

Twitter and Facebook have provided other unique venues for the public to share their emotions and stories in this continuously busy world.  Last year, Twitter was trending with stories of where each user was when they found out about the attacks.  Different age groups were able to illustrate the spectrum of emotions felt when the news of the attacks first broke.  Younger users told how they were in kindergarten class during the attacks, and had no idea what exactly had happened.  While the older population was able to see the news in their office or on their way to work.

September11In addition to a platform for stories, the Internet has become a place for remembrance in lieu of expensive and time-consuming memorial services.  Life unfortunately does not stop on difficult anniversaries, but that does not mean Americans cannot share their thoughts and prayers for each other.  A simple status update or tweet provides a short moment of silence, when the day doesn’t allow for a memorial service.  According to social media experts, these brief mentions have also helped to increase awareness of the importance of any day, which might have been forgotten years later.

Whether it is a moment of reflection, prayer, patriotism, or remembrance, social media has forever changed how Americans will commemorate September 11th, and all that was lost on that day.

How else have you seen others using social media to commemorate 9/11?  Tell us in the comments, and on our Facebook and Twitter pages.  Be sure to visit our website and learn more about our agency and all that we offer in social media.


Advertising: Power of Negativity

Have you ever wondered why you can remember the exact place you were when you heard the news of the tragedy of 9/11, but you have trouble remembering the details of the vacation you took last month?

Studies have shown that negative information triggers more activity in the area of the brain linked to emotion and remembering. We remember negative information with more detail because it evokes fear in us which motivates us to pay closer attention to it and seek more info about it.

It is true that advertising agencies are known for utilizing the power of negative emotion to instill shock into their brand’s campaigns, and they have been successful and memorable in doing so. The research behind this phenomenon, and the success it has shown in persuasion, has led the 2012 presidential campaigns to use these same tactics.

Psychologists have found that the images and emotions evoked by campaign ads play a large role in the publics’ affiliation choice. In fact, $3 billion is spent on the overwhelming influx of commercials and radio spots and it seems that 90% of these ads are flooding the opposing party in negative and vulgar light. But this is not just a cheap punch; this is the power of negativity.

Negative messages tend to break partisan reliance. Disturbing or fearful messages subconsciously make you, first: pay attention and second: want more information about it. Thus, you remember the message and look farther into the party’s campaign to feed your curiosity. In contrast, positive messages reaffirm the party affiliation you have already made, which is why these messages are used by the candidate who has a strong lead.

The time restrictions the candidates have to gain supporters and sway people to join their side explains the push for negative campaigning. By using this tactic, they can create an impactful message without legal ramifications, and they can make a strong, memorable impression, fast.

Tell us what you think about the negative messages in Romney and Obama’s campaigns. Are their negative campaign tactics playing in on your mind? Share your thoughts here or on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow us on Twitter at @Weise Ideas.


Political or Religious Advertising: Yes, I’m a Mormon!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as The Mormon Church, recently launched a new ad campaign. I’m a Mormon ads are sweeping major cities in the United States to help the general public better understand Mormons. The Ads show regular people talking about their lives and hobbies before announcing they are Mormons.

A representative for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints explained that the ads are not scripted; feature no fake stories and no wardrobe. The featured people are real people talking about their real lives.

In this video pro surfer Joy Monahan says, “I’m a woman’s long board champion and I’m a Mormon.”

The Killers band member Brandon Flowers has one of the most recent ads. His video expresses his love for music, family and his faith.

The Mormon Church is using this advertising campaign to attempt to tear down boundaries and stereotypes regarding the Mormon. The ads are supported by the website, where you can find profiles of more than 30,000 Mormons worldwide and chat live with representatives from the church. The website has the church’s basic beliefs and answers frequently asked questions such as their beliefs about Jesus Christ, why they don’t drink alcohol or caffeine and what they believe about the Bible.

While the campaign is well developed and paints a picture of Mormons as the basic friendly next-door neighbor, the timing of the advertising campaign cannot go unnoted.

The Mormon Church has been getting a lot of attention lately thanks to Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman Jr. (who?), both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Unfortunately, a June Gallup poll showed that 22 percent of Americans would not vote for a Mormon candidate. This was once the sentiment about Catholics and African Americans as well, but our country continues to evolve.  While the Church does not endorse any party or candidate, the timing of the ads will most be a decision based on trying to sway general opinions and eliminate fears about voting for a Mormon.

The Mormon Church has made this public statement on various occasions before major elections: “Principles compatible with the gospel are found in the platforms of all major political parties. While the Church does not endorse political candidates, platforms, or parties, members are urged to be full participants in political, governmental, and community affairs.”

Ads will run until February, just after the Republican primaries have started in earnest.

Could the Mormon church have found a way around limits on political campaign contributions in order to gain political support for church members? Do you believe the campaign is effective in changing perceptions?


Social Media’s Role in Overthrowing a President

Today at 9:30 a.m. MST, Egypt President Hosni Mubarak resigned from office. The announcement came as thousands gathered in Egyptian cities (including the epicenter, Cairo’s Tahrir Square) for an 18th consecutive day of protest demanding Mubarak’s resignation.

The pressure from Egyptian citizens was fueled by stories disseminated through social media, despite the Egyptian government blocking access to Twitter and Facebook. The attempt to block communication did not stop reports coming out of Egypt.

Reporters like Ben Wedeman of CNN and Lara Setrakian of ABC use smart phones to access the Internet to tell the story.  News is coming out of Egypt with a unique blend of traditional communication, filtered by reporters, and Web 2.0, where news spreads virally.  Hashtags like #Jan25, #Egypt and #Tahrir provide easy search options for the latest news on Twitter.  Additionally, Egyptian citizens are employing third-party apps like TweetDeck and HootSuite to update their Twitter and Facebook accounts whle the main web pages remain blocked. Since the applications don’t require a web authentication, TweetDeck and HootSuite users can access social media through mobile apps.

There is one other difference in the social media reporting in Egypt from traditional reporting. Instead of simply reporting facts and allowing the viewer to draw conclusions, with social media Ben, Lara and others are including factual information and their personal feelings and reactions to the history unfolding in front of them. Often this is delivered in a conversational tone that would be edited out of a broadcast news report.

Mubarak’s resignation is certainly a historic moment for social media as there can be no doubt that political activism has changed…permanently.

One of the lessons marketers should take away from this developing situation, increased respect for consumers. They have proven to be resourceful and intelligent and with social media – they have a voice.

Let us know if you agree this is seminal moment for social media. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.



We’re Weise…and we approve this message

Election Day is November 2nd and in the next two months, traditional advertising vehicles will be bombarded with political advertising. Expect to see more TV, radio, outdoor and print advertising advocating a specific candidate, issue or initiative.  Even though this is a mid-term election, there are so many congressional (both senate and house) and governor elections, traditional advertising channels will be inundated with political advertising.

There are two major impacts for marketing professionals:

  • Inventory of available advertising space is extremely low
  • People will become numb to advertising due to the political ad messages

Studies have shown that negative advertising moves the polls for and against candidates more than ‘what I stand for’ advertising. The fact that people tend to retain negative information longer than positive information is another reason why negative political advertising is so effective. Since it is effective is shaping opinions, we know we will see negative ads.  We always do.

Prior to Election Day, advertisers should consider alternate advertising vehicles.  For example, focusing on a vertical market segment.  If you are trying to reach men, focus on sports related media like Sports Illustrated or

However, all is not doom and gloom as advertisers take for granted that the public’s dislike for political ads will spillover to product ads.  It is our opinion that there is a contrast effect for product/service advertisers. Exposure to negative political ads impacts the consumer feelings about politics – product/service ads are unaffected by these feelings. In comparison with political ads, product ads appear even more attractive and credible.

Advertisers create entertaining, emotional and humorous ads positioning products/services in the most attractive light. Positivity is the face of product/service advertising. In contrast, political advertisers typically anger, disgust and repulse their audience.

Advertisers should prepare for November 3rd (the day after Election Day) with renewed effort.  The inventory will be available and the public will be more receptive to your message.

Let us know if you agree with us and follow Weise Communications on Twitter where we approve our tweets.


Spend a Day in These Shoes – The Power of Testimonials

Forget the days of the power suit, for many female politicos – it’s the day of the power shoe. When Reshma Saujani, a democratic congressional candidate from New York, mentioned the shoes she wore to pound the pavement of New York, she starred a flurry of politico shoe shoppers into motion.

A story in the New York Times claims Saujani heard of the shoes from someone on the Hillary Clinton team. Saujani wore the Kate Spade three-inch, round-toe, black patent wedge heel called the “Halle” and caused one-day lookups on Yahoo! to spike 625 percent. Politico show lovers voted for the Halle to be the “it” shoe with phrases like “Kate Spade wedge,” “Kate Spade wedge shoe,” and “Kate Spade Halle wedge.” The Huffington Post has even covered this hot topic.

These pantsuits for the feet are practical, or as practical as a high heel shoe can be, because they wear-well yet look polished. Unlike the lauded Jimmy Choos and Manolo Blahniks of Sex and the City, these shoes can be worn to pound pavement.

So, what does this tell us about marketing?

Customer testimonials have a lot of power, especially when it comes from someone well known who actually uses the product.

It also tells us that marketing to your target audience is very important.

Had the Kate Spade public relations team worked to get Sarah Jessica Parker to wear the Halle, the shoes would have come off more soccer mom than political chic. By getting their shoes on the feet of a woman who had a very practical use for them and was seen as fashionable and chic herself, the shoes came off as super stylish and a must have item.

We’d love to hear what you have been done to reach your target markets?


The New Definition of Terrible Advertising – Demon Sheep

Look, I like Carly Fiorina. I respect her as a woman and a business leader. If I had had lunch with her a month ago, I would have asked a million questions about her life, her leadership mantra, her strength and her determination. But now, if I had the chance to ask her anything, it would be, “What were you thinking?!”

She is running for the Republican Senate nomination in California, and her latest political ad is just bad. I first read about it on NPR in a blog appropriately titled, “The Worst Political Ad Ever? This One Has Got to Be Up There.”

I was so mortified by the terrible production and terrible content. I had a hard time believing that the ad actually showed a fake sheep with red glowing eyes. This is one of those ads that you expect to see as a parody on Saturday Night Live. If I hadn’t read about it on NPR, I would not believe it was real.

My professional opinion? This will do Fiorina more harm than good. Based on the more than 600 YouTube comments – mostly negative – about the ad, I can’t imagine Fiorina isn’t thinking the same thing right about now. I guess we will see the true impact of this ad when the California primaries come around.

In the meantime, what can we learn from this? We can learn that politicians should hire agencies that not only have political savvy, but also know how to develop appropriate messages for their clients. And they should have some oversight in that production. What do you think about the ad? See the ad below:

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